Voice Program recital to showcase combination of poetry, music

Philip Stoddard will combine two art forms in today’s voice recital: poetry and music.

“I believe that music existing in space and time is inherently in many forms,” said Stoddard, a bass-baritone who is studying at Chautauqua Institution for his third summer. “These songs and poems lend themselves to the narrative. It’s something happening that brings the audience into the here and now of the story.”

The voice recital is 7:30 p.m. tonight in McKnight Hall, and it benefits the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund. The first portion of the voice recital will feature singers Caroline Dunigan, Caitlin Gotimer and Michael St. Peter, who will perform a cycle of songs called “My Therapist Said” alongside voice coach Don St. Pierre.

The second segment will fall into Stoddard’s hands. Sage DeAgro-Ruopp, a fellow voice student, will perform alongside him in a piece Stoddard described as non-traditional.

“I’ve been conceiving this piece around the “Songs of Travel” by Robert Louis Stevenson,” Stoddard said.

Similar to “Songs of Travel,” which is a cycle of nine songs joined with a set of poems, the poems in Stoddard’s piece will be set to music and accompanied by additional text, read by DeAgro-Roupp, whom Stoddard said has been enthusiastic about their project.

“I saw her in the Sing-In, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to collaborate with a colleague,” he said. “I sort of gravitated toward her.”

Stoddard said he’s taken artistic liberties to bring the audience inside the story in a new and imaginative way. His artistic risk is an approach he personally finds exciting.

“The thing I’ve set out to try to do: How do we confront those struggles where text and music meet, and [those struggles where] human life and experience are tangible and visceral but also mysterious?” Stoddard said. “Chautauqua was the first place I found an artistic family. This is a perfect place for me to try something like this.”